The layout of a soul circle will vary from coach to coach.
When you ask Google what a ‘soul circle’ is, you’ll get a return of many definitions.
However, there is one answer that seems to ring through about the activity: it’s a gathering for people seeking a deeper connection.
Last weekend, I attended my first-ever soul circle. I was still somewhat unsure of what to expect or if I had the spiritual repertoire to fully grasp the experience.
If you find yourself intrigued by the idea of attending one – but are wondering about the same things I did – firstly, let me tell you that there are no rules or expectations.
Soul circles are spaces where all walks of life are welcomed and embraced.
For my first soul circle, I attended Dublin-based SoulCircle.ie, led by professional dancer, yoga teacher, and coach Rachael O’Meara Curran.
As soon as I entered the studio, Rachael greeted me with the warmest smile and the most relaxed energy.
Venturing into a new environment that lies outside of your comfort zone will always spark feelings of worry, doubt, and/or self-consciousness.
However, any reservations I had about doing or saying the wrong thing, sitting in the wrong place, or being the wrong candidate for a soul circle evaporated once we met.
Rachael’s vibe was very much free and calm, showing a desire to get to know you, but respecting boundaries.
People who attend soul circles are there to find a connection.
Once the class filled up and attendees took their places on the yoga mats, it was time to introduce ourselves one at a time.
This type of introduction, for me, is normally one I find very anxiety-inducing and brings me back to college days where you start with your name, age, and some rehearsed fact about yourself that makes it sound like your career or career aspirations are your entire personality.
Before the first person started, thoughts started to race: ‘How do I sum myself up without being basic or without over-sharing?’
Once they began to open up, I quickly realised that this wasn’t the same as the introductions I’d been part of in the past.
The answers ranged from how people were feeling about all aspects of their lives; their struggles; their wins; their health; and their goals.
There was no right or wrong answer.
I wouldn’t be a person to announce how the last week, month, or year has impacted me emotionally, physically, or mentally, but everyone’s openness inspired me to be a bit braver and go a bit deeper.
The class opening was a new and phenomenal experience and I couldn’t believe I had shared without shaking nervously. It felt natural and safe.
Speaking for just one minute about an inner thought lifted a weight from my shoulders I hadn’t realised I had been carrying.
It’s important to note that everything said in a soul circle is completely confidential.
There is an unspoken trust created once everyone has said their piece.
This soul circle helped to alleviate physical tension.
Right after our introductions, Rachael handed us what I initially thought looked like the ball I throw for my dog
These were what she soon said were called myofascial balls and she explained that they help break up adhesions between the fascia and underlying muscles.
These are often used to release tension in the fascia due to trauma, posture, and inflammation.
Unbeknownst to me prior to this activity, the fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fibre and muscle in place.
I also didn’t know that when we get stressed, the fascia tightens up.
We were taught how to move the ball on the areas where we feel tension; neck, shoulders, wrists, palms, and back.
I wish I could explain the relief that came with using these balls, but all I can liken it to is the feeling you get post-massage.
Restorative session and Yoga Nidra meditation
After, once the lights went dim, the candles were lit, and it was time to delve into the next activity.
I have tried yoga many times, but never like this.
When you think of doing the exercise, you imagine people of all different levels bending their bodies into different positions.
This wasn’t like that.
We underwent a restorative type of yoga, which requires very little movement at all.
Instead, we completed restful practice under Rachael’s guide, which is all about slowing down and opening your body through passive stretching.
Rather than breaking a sweat and wobbling to stay upright, we lay flat, with slow movement to give our bodies some much-needed restoration, making it perfect for people of all ages and abilities.
Rachael guided us through a meditation known as Yoga Nidra, one that sent many of us into a sleep-like trance.
This was effortless relaxation, one we often don’t come by naturally in our busy lives but one we all deserve to feel.
Connection and crafts
After our spiritual reset, we then moved on to making keyrings or bracelets, using beats to design them with a keyword of our choice for 2024.
In this part of the soul circle, we got to chat and explain why we each chose our affirmational word for the year ahead.
While busying away on our crafts, Rachael passed out oracle cards with motivational phrases, which she hoped we would absorb.
This part of the gathering was a beautiful way to close out the afternoon by getting to know like-minded individuals and intentionally set goals for the future.
After my first soul circle, I walked out the door feeling renewed, softer, refreshed, and excited.
If you’re toying with the idea of attending one, I can’t recommend it enough.
It is the perfect activity to ease yourself into your softness as we enter spring and leave behind a busy and harsh winter.
There couldn’t be a more perfect time to try something deeper and more connected, as SoulCircle.ie has a range of gorgeous and exciting events coming up this February.